Are you worried you aren’t successful? Don’t be! The greatest success one can have is found in their social network, and size doesn’t matter. According to a 75-year long study done by Harvard the path to success is spending time with friends. Take a moment out of your day today and send somebody you know a nice message.
If you don’t have a large group of friends, or don’t have a partner, don’t worry. A person only needs a few close relationships to be happy.
“It’s not just the number of friends you have,” Waldinger says, “and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship. It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.”
It’s a reminder to carve out more time to connect with people who you enjoy being around, sure. But unlike landing a new job or buying a new car, you many not see changes to your mood overnight. “Relationships are messy and they’re complicated,” says Waldinger. Investments in them can take time to pay dividends.
If you’re like everyone else then you still have a Facebook profile that you barely check, yet still need. Yes it’s handy to be in touch with people using one network, but let’s face it: Facebook is garbage. The amount of lies spread and the lack of effective content moderation ensures that the site will prey on the weak and ill informed. Their advertising model ensures that they will always violate our privacy in the pursuit of profit.
Jimmy Wales, one of the founders of Wikipedia, has created an alternative to Facebook. The new WT:Social exists as a counterpoint to the advertising led business model of other social networks and its early success is promising.
“We will foster an environment where bad actors are removed because it is right, not because it suddenly affects our bottom-line.”
In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Mr Wales described the advertising-led business model favoured by the social network giants as “problematic”.
“It turns out the huge winner is low-quality content,” he said.
Despite the fact that we are more connected than ever loneliness is still a problem in our society. Indeed, it’s such a problem that people are self-reporting that they are lonelier today than decades ago. What can we do about it? We can teach people how to better deal with feelings of loneliness in schools so when they become adults they will know how to grabble with it.
But Holt-Lunstad believes that loneliness-prevention education should not be limited to teaching students how to support others. She also believes that kids should learn early in life how to reframe their own negative responses to social situations. “We’ve all had a situation where you text someone and they don’t respond right away,” she says. “Instead of assuming they’re snubbing you, they’re blowing you off, all of these kinds of negative things that could in turn lead you to respond with nasty comments or become irritated, which is not going to elicit the sort of friendly response you want,” she says, “reframe it as, ‘Perhaps they’re driving.’ ‘Perhaps they’re in a meeting.’ If you’re interpreting others’ social signals as negative, how you behave towards them is more likely to mirror that.” The existing strategies for helping people repackage their thoughts in a more positive way could be easily adapted for a classroom setting.
Modern economists and too many politicians argue that economic growth in itself will make people happier. They are wrong. Economic growth doesn’t bring happiness to societies, but decreasing economic inequality does. Another (unsurprising) element also raises people’s happiness: spend more time being social than working. I can only imagine the confusion people who follow the Chicago school are experiencing after reading this paragraph.
The modern world has been built upon the idea that a bigger GDP causes a bigger GNH, which has led to problems we need to address. Automation is causing unemployment of repetitive tasks that used to be a stable career. On top of that, cities are suffering from growing inequality. So what do we do as a society? Jonathan Rose ponders this question at the Atlantic.
But there is a deeper reason. Happiness is tied to what Deaton calls emotionally enriching social experiences. Kahneman says, “The very best thing that can happen to people is to spend time with other people they like. That is when they are happiest.” The way people spend their time is also a critical component of sense of well-being. In another study Kahneman and his colleagues tracked how people experience their day by asking them to record events in fifteen-minute intervals and evaluate them. Walking, making love, exercise, playing, and reading ranked as their most pleasurable activities. Their least happy activities? Work, commuting, child care, and personal computer time. How many people really enjoy a night of plowing through endless emails?
Now there’s the perfect excuse to go watch the game with your friends or just chillax in a bar! It turns out that males really benefit when they engage in face to face activities with their friends twice a week regardless of what they actually do.
So go out tonight with your friends and have a round to your health 😉
Professor Robin Dunbar, a leading psychologist at Oxford University, published the report, which shows that whilst speaking to mates is valuable, it is not enough for men.
He said to experience the real benefits of friendship, men must meet up in the flesh at least twice a week and actually ‘do stuff’.
It also demonstrates men who keep strong and well-maintained social groups are healthier, recover from illness more quickly and tend to be more generous.
No word on if going out every night for beers with friends is even more beneficial.